DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Anthony Carter, announced Monday a Dayton man was sentenced for a tax fraud and identity theft scheme.
29-year-old Lance Ealy was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $61,000 in restitution.
Ealy was convicted for access device fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and related charges arising from a sophisticated scheme in which he purchased hundreds of stolen identities online and used the identities to file more than 150 fraudulent federal income tax returns.
After an initial investigation by the United States Secret Service determined that Ealy had purchased stolen identities from an illicit online source, he was arrested on a federal complaint in October 2013. A federal grand jury subsequently indicted Ealy in November 2013, charging him with one count of knowingly possessing 15 or more access devices with intent to defraud.
A further investigation by both Secret Service and the IRS determined that Ealy was using stolen identities that he had purchased online to file fraudulent federal tax returns and open fake bank accounts in which to deposit the fraudulent tax refunds. Some of these crimes were committed while Ealy was out on bond.
Following a nearly two-week trial, a jury convicted Ealy of all 46 charges in November 2014, including one count of illegally possessing 15 or more unauthorized access devices, 11 counts of filing false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS, 14 counts of wire fraud, 14 counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of mail fraud, and one count of using unauthorized access devices to obtain $1,000 or more in a one-year period. An access device includes things such as payment cards and bank account numbers used to access financial accounts.
During the trial, Ealy became a fugitive after failing to appear on November 17, 18 and 19, 2014. It was later determined that Ealy had removed his electronic monitoring device on November 15, 2014, and fled. He was recaptured in late March 2015 in the Atlanta, Georgia area by the United States Marshal’s Service.
Ealy faces an additional sentence of up to 10 years in prison for his failure to appear convictions, which must run consecutive to the 124-month sentence that has been imposed by Judge Barrett. Judge Rose has scheduled sentencing in Ealy’s failure to appear case for February 6, 2016.